Login  |  Search

Co-optation

Co-optation
Tina Minkowitz - Fri Dec 09, 2011 @ 08:05AM
Comments: 310

The first phase of co-optation I experienced in the anti-psychiatric abuse movement was in 1985.  I was not a very active member or leader at that time, but I went to the annual "International Conference For Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression" in 1985 and experienced the three-way division that left the North American movement, at least, in a weakened and demoralized state.  This division may have also allowed NAMI, an organization of family members that at the national level receives most of its funding from pharmaceutical companies and is pro-forced psychiatry, to emerge as the voice of "mental health advocacy" sought out by the media.  

The 1985 co-optation was brought about by government mental health agencies in the U.S. negotiating to fund a consumer movement that would co-operate with, rather than oppose, the mental health system.  Before 1985 the groups I knew about met in people's houses and in public spaces, and on rare occasions received funding to open a drop-in center and house where people could stay.  We held our conferences at a university campus when school was not in session, not in fancy hotels.  From that time till today, developments have been such that most of our movement is dependent on funding from the mental health system.  Some organizations use the funding creatively and even find that, by refusing to "pre-emptively comply" with onerous conditions, they can do much more than they might have thought possible.  

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (a UN human rights treaty, on which I worked as a representative of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) represented, to me, in part a way to break through the stagnation in the movement, particularly the way that talk about abolition of psychiatric incarceration and forced interventions had been stifled by government money.  Most likely I would not have expressed it that way at the time, but I saw an opening in human rights and the lens of non-discrimination that allowed us to say "we have been left outside looking in, now we claim a place at the table and redefine what's on the menu."  This was helped greatly by the fact that we came in as part of the disability community which had politicized its own involvement in an earlier UN process so that the slogan "Nothing about us without us" was a rallying cry that made sense to governments as well as non-governmental organizations.

Since the adoption and entry into force of the CRPD, a new co-optation is happening that I had not anticipated.  I should say at the outset that the mental health system co-optation is also continuing on the world level, with WHO and its supporters sponsoring "human rights" training and manuals that accept the practice of forced psychiatry, and promoting alliances of user/survivor organizations with mental health agencies based on this same premise.  But the co-optation is not limited to the mental health system this time.

The International Disability Alliance has been converted from a coalition of equal partners in which each member had a veto over activities or positions that did not reflect its own positions, to an agency run by non-disabled people (executive director and other key positions) primarily from the global north that "works in" countries in the global south and claims to represent the global community of people with disabilities at the UN.  WNUSP, a member of IDA, no longer has the power to collaborate with its colleagues (the other global organizations of people with disabilities and regional federations of disability organizations that are the members of IDA) to create mutually agreed agendas and carry out work together.  Instead, the work is proposed by the executive director, approved by the IDA members as a "governing body", and then carried out by the secretariat, at times with token participation by the representatives of IDA member organizations. 

Human rights organizations, including those dealing specifically with the rights of people with "mental" disabilities, and development organizations, saw the opportunities for their own growth and development of their work.  While we were regrouping after the exhausting and exhilarating task of creating the CRPD, these organizations took advantage of the new treaty to continue on in their old work that was based on faulty standards, particularly the now discredited and superseded Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness (see Torture Rapporteur Report A/63/175, paragraph 44, and OHCHR Legal Measures Study A/HRC/10/48, paragraphs 48-49, acknowledging the MI principles superseded by the CRPD).  Funders also approached these organizations practically begging them to get involved, despite at least my own voice cautioning funders that they should insist that such organizations partner with organizations of people with disabilities who have the policy expertise and authenticity to drive CRPD implementation and monitoring just as we created the treaty itself.  (At least one organization is playing a token game, repeatedly inviting us to join in their agenda and ignoring our requests for honest dialogue and acknowledgement of our leadership.)

One phenomenon happening in all the international co-optation post-CRPD adoption, is the bypassing of WNUSP, the global organization of users and survivors of psychiatry/ people with psychosocial disabilities, with funders, human rights organizations, WHO and IDA secretariat seeking to have a direct relationship with national user/survivor organizations to provide them with training on the CRPD.  This is disrespectful and not in keeping with the principle of "nothing about us without us," and gives the impression that we are not the suppliers of expertise but only the recipients of training by experts whose lack of lived experience seems to give them greater credibility.  These agencies, all based in the global north, also appear to want to "protect" user/survivor organizations in the global south from the influence of leaders in the worldwide movement who are opposed to forced psychiatry.  They seem to think that wanting freedom from oppression is a conspiracy of outside agitators - sound familiar?  

Our movement has been slow (from my perspective) to understand the potential of the CRPD much less to be willing to believe in yet another promise that may remain unfulfilled.  There has already been a lot of co-optation worldwide, so that those of us who want our national and local organizations to work for abolition of forced psychiatry have to deal with funders, non-user/survivor staff who usurp decision-making power, and members who are peace-loving and traumatized people reluctant to be in the middle of ideological wars.  Despite all this it is happening, and user/survivor organizations everywhere are taking the CRPD and making it their own, adapting the message of freedom and self-determination to their own circumstances and speaking in the many authentic voices of our movement.

I feel sorrow and grief over the co-optation that has happened in relation to work in which I was personally involved.  Yet I see the results of my work not only in the user/survivor movement taking up the CRPD standards, but also in the fact that many of those who fought me at one time or another end up adopting the positions and strategies I have advocated.  I would rather the co-optation not be happening, as it drains energy and puts additional obstacles in our path.  My hope is that we can defeat co-optation by naming it and coming together to cooperate for our freedom and for the solidarity to meet our human needs.  The CRPD gives us a chance to develop policies appropriate to the society we live in, to play a role in governance responsible to the society as a whole.  (I mean that we have an opening to put forward serious, comprehensive policies for laws and programs that reflect what we truly want.  It is similar, I think, to what happens after a revolution when the revolutionaries have to govern.)  As I have been arguing elsewhere, I believe we have the tools, models and skills to shape such policy.  Watch for further discussions and let me know what you think.  

The "growing up" of a movement does not have to mean co-optation, rather co-optation is a challenge that a movement has to face in its "growing up." 

Comments: 310

Comments

102. Loran Herber  |  my website   |   Sun Mar 30, 2014 @ 10:00AM

I was very pleased to find this website.

103. ken burge  |  my website   |   Fri Apr 11, 2014 @ 02:11AM

A girl usually enters the menstruation period in this age. There may possibly also be a maximum advised implant size for each person based on their all-natural breast size and body shape. Begin slowly and then enhance the speed progressively and have at least two physical exercise sessions per day. Beyond these wellness concerns, women of any age, but particularly younger females, will uncover their self-esteem and sexuality in crisis. Typical ingredients incorporate fennel seed and kelp. Damiana: - Damiana is a modest shrub located in the West Indies. Following are some of them. http://www.boostyourbust.co/

104. Juliet215  |  my website   |   Wed Apr 16, 2014 @ 09:35AM

The Dietary Cure for Acne will help you understand the scientific basis of why diet matters in keeping your skin acne free.

105. Juliet215  |  my website   |   Wed Apr 16, 2014 @ 09:31AM

Some people can literally eat the most bland of ...

106. Richard   |   Mon Apr 28, 2014 @ 04:48AM

This
<a href="http://www.animationvilla.com">Video Animation Service</a>,
<a href="http://www.animationvilla.com">Animation Service Provider</a>
can promote your products more quickly by creating a direct image or concept of your product about. People are always interested in watching or visiting the animated videos.

107. David   |   Mon Apr 28, 2014 @ 04:49AM

Everyone is going to online its service or market if you are one of them and searching
<a href="www.99globalbusiness.com/top-web-hosting/">Best Web Hosting Companies</a>,
<a href="www.99globalbusiness.com/top-web-hosting/">Top Web Hosting Companies</a>,
<a href="http://www.99globalbusiness.com/top-logo-design-firms/">Top Logo Design Companies</a>
then you are at the right place to visit us.

108. Richard   |   Mon Apr 28, 2014 @ 04:46AM

This
<a href="http://www.animationvilla.com">Video Animation Service</a>,
<a href="http://www.animationvilla.com">Animation Service Provider</a>
can promote your products more quickly by creating a direct image or concept of your product about. People are always interested in watching or visiting the animated videos.

109. window washing chicago  |  my website   |   Thu May 01, 2014 @ 04:15PM

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (a UN human rights treaty, on which I worked as a representative of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) represented, to me, in part a way to break through the stagnation in the movement, particularly the way that talk about abolition of psychiatric incarceration and forced interventions had been stifled by government money. Wonderful sharing thanks for your post.

110. jack   |   Fri May 02, 2014 @ 01:25PM

<a title="Videocon prices" href="http://www.price4india.co.in/videocon.html">Videocon prices</a>this is my new post

111. Vana  |  my website   |   Tue May 06, 2014 @ 09:34AM

It looks like you Spend a lot of efforts and time on your blog.

112. Most Popular Restaurant  |  my website   |   Wed May 07, 2014 @ 12:08AM

There are many people who travel alone in order to experience things on their own. <a href="http://www.hotelsunder1hundred.com">Most Popular Restaurant</a> While this is fine and certainly a choice that has its benefits, there are many benefits to traveling with another person as well.

113. Vana  |  my website   |   Thu May 08, 2014 @ 08:29AM

I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job!

114. Vana  |  my website   |   Thu May 08, 2014 @ 08:31AM

a good topic i hope to see more information , thank you

115. Aliegra34  |  my website   |   Fri May 09, 2014 @ 08:21AM

I would be very thankful if you continue with quality what you are serving right now with your blog

116. Aliegra34  |  my website   |   Fri May 09, 2014 @ 08:22AM

Great stuff, just great.Thanks for sharing this.

117. Allan  |  my website   |   Wed May 14, 2014 @ 02:57PM

I love the humor your post has offered.

118. Allan  |  my website   |   Wed May 14, 2014 @ 03:00PM

Am I Having A Boy Or Girl? Fun Ways to Tell!

119. Antony  |  my website   |   Thu May 22, 2014 @ 08:13AM

Man, this blog is just great!

120. Antony  |  my website   |   Thu May 22, 2014 @ 08:07AM

This is my first time i visit here.

121. Antony  |  my website   |   Thu May 22, 2014 @ 08:16AM

From the tons of comments on your articles

122. Miler  |  my website   |   Thu May 22, 2014 @ 08:10AM

I have been meaning to write something like this on my website and you have given me an idea

123. العاب طبخ  |  my website   |   Sat May 24, 2014 @ 01:17AM
124. Monica  |  my website   |   Fri May 30, 2014 @ 08:21AM

I will always preserve your web page and will often come coming back later

125. Monica  |  my website   |   Fri May 30, 2014 @ 08:16AM

Great tips and very easy to understand.

126. Monica  |  my website   |   Fri May 30, 2014 @ 08:18AM

The website loading speed is amazing

127. Monica  |  my website   |   Fri May 30, 2014 @ 08:18AM

Excellent read.

128. Jenny  |  my website   |   Thu Jun 05, 2014 @ 07:53AM

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share

129. Jenny  |  my website   |   Thu Jun 05, 2014 @ 08:00AM

You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents.

130. Jenny  |  my website   |   Thu Jun 05, 2014 @ 07:56AM

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it.

131. Jenny  |  my website   |   Thu Jun 05, 2014 @ 07:56AM

Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work.

132. سمعنا  |  my website   |   Sat Jun 07, 2014 @ 03:15AM

This looks like a very nice place! I liked it so much and very interesting, too! Thanks for sharing the experience.
<a href="http://esm3na.com">سمعنا</a>

133. Nick  |  my website   |   Tue Jun 10, 2014 @ 07:25AM

You have done a great job.

134. PC Suite Free Download  |  my website   |   Sat Jun 14, 2014 @ 10:26AM

I really appreciate for your brilliant Efforts on spending time to post this information in a simple and systematic manner, so That visitors and readers can easily Understand the concept.I

135. Vivian  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 16, 2014 @ 08:14AM

I enjoyed reading your post and found it to be informative and to the topic

136. Vivian  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 16, 2014 @ 08:14AM

Thanks for sharing this information.

137. Vivian  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 16, 2014 @ 08:23AM

I love your blog, I recommend to all people who love this kind of post to visit this site, I recommend it.

138. Vivian  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 16, 2014 @ 08:23AM

Thanks for sharing this information

139. Andrea  |  my website   |   Thu Jun 19, 2014 @ 08:14AM

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear.

140. Andrea  |  my website   |   Thu Jun 19, 2014 @ 08:15AM

his is my first time i visit here.

141. شراء لايكات فيس بوك  |  my website   |   Wed Jul 02, 2014 @ 08:44AM

thank you for sharingh with us that great information

142. Kurniagan  |  my website   |   Mon Jul 07, 2014 @ 09:20PM

Hopefully Co-optation movement always brings benefits to the community, thanks for this information Mr. admin

143. Kurniagan  |  my website   |   Mon Jul 07, 2014 @ 09:17PM

Hopefully Co-optation movement always brings benefits to the community, thanks for this information Mr. admin

144. Jonathan  |  my website   |   Mon Aug 04, 2014 @ 08:46AM

Thanks for your valuable info check out this latest news

145. Jonathan  |  my website   |   Mon Aug 04, 2014 @ 08:49AM

I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog that's both informative.

146. Mint Springs Farm  |  my website   |   Thu Aug 21, 2014 @ 07:22AM

Visualization Software is a reporting client interface intended to be perused for investigation motivation behind information.

147. Molarh23  |  my website   |   Wed Sep 03, 2014 @ 08:32AM

Thank you for your share.I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article.

148. Molarh23  |  my website   |   Wed Sep 03, 2014 @ 08:35AM

I want to get behind this so much.

149. Edward Fults  |  my website   |   Wed Sep 10, 2014 @ 03:18AM

Your site is an awesome and informative.

150. Leonardo36  |  my website   |   Thu Sep 25, 2014 @ 09:02AM

I’m very fired up to show it to anyone. It makes me so satisfied your vast understanding and wisdom have a new channel for trying into the world.

Post a Comment